In order to best care for your raspberries, you have to understand all the different parts of the plant. The long stick-like part of a raspberry plant that comes up out of the ground is called a cane. The canes produced the first year are called primocanes and will only produce foliage. The next season, those primocanes produce fruit and are then called floricanes. At the end of a fruiting season, floricanes die and you want to prune those out after harvest. I think of this as a bi-annual fall clean-up.
Floricane-fruiting red raspberries are summer-bearers and will produce a hefty crop during June and July. You can, however, plant primocane-fruiting raspberries, which will produce on the primocanes late in the summer and fall the first year. An added bonus is that if you leave those canes in place, they’ll become floricanes the following year and will produce fruit in the early summer as floricane-fruiting raspberries. Score!
What you’ve heard about raspberry canes being invasive is true, but if you can find a bed where you can let them spread a little, it will be worth it. You may have to pull a few rogue canes here and there that pop up beyond the boundaries you set for them, but it’s nothing too difficult to maintain.
Wherever you put them, you’ll need a trellis. I installed a sturdy wood T at both ends of the bed and added one more cross arm to the middle of each post. On each of those arms and on the top T piece, I inserted an eye screw onto each end. Then I strung wire from one eye screw along the perimeter of the bed to the other on the opposite side. This allows the canes, weighed down with sweet berries, to lean onto the wires for support. It’s a simple raspberry corral to keep those canes in check. (Check out this tutorial on YouTube.)
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2013, and updated in Marcy 2021.